December 1, 1956
FISH AND WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT
PROVINCE OF ONTARIO
DEPARTMENT OF LANDS AND FORESTS
Division of Fish and Wildlife
Hon. Clare E. Mapledoram
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Experimental Wetlands Appraisal in Southern Ontario.
- by H. Gray Merriam 1
An Evaluation of Canada Goose Kills by the Indians of
- by Harold C. Hanson and Campbell Currie 20
Waterfowl Survey of Northwestern Ontario, 1950.
- by Lester W. Gray 30
Waterfowl Shooting Around a Small Sanctuary,
- by D. N. Neill 34
Waterfowl Caught in Muskrat Traps, Kemptville District,
1955-1956o - by G. C. Myers and J. B, Dawson 36
Luther Marsh Game Bag Census, October 6, 1956.
- by J. F. Gage 41
Mourning Dove Road Counts. - by L. J. Stock 43
Report on 1956 Trip to the Slate Islands.
- by H. G. Cumming 44
Report on a Winter Marten Trapping Project White River
District. - by E. A. Pozzo 52
Introduction of Carp Into Ontario. - by Anonymous 54
Winter Search for Ouananiche, Athelstane and Cliff Lakes,
Port Arthur District. - by R. A. Ryder 55
Fish Tagging Studies in Whitefish Bay, Lake of the Woods
in 1954 and 1955. - by J. M. Fraser 53
Summary of Fur Returns by Ontario Game Management
Districts, 1955-1956. 63
(THESE REPORTS ARE FOR INTRA-DEPARTMENTAL
INFORMATION AND NOT FOR PUBLICATION)
EXPERBiENTAL WETLANDS APPRAISAL IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO
H. Gray Merriam
Ontario Department of Lands and Forests
Fish and Wildlife Division
Three townships and portions of 2 others in southern
Ontario were used as test areas for 4 wetland appraisal techniques.
A field method using concession-block* aerial mosaics and punch-type
index cards was superior to the others tested. Inventory of one
township of 95 square miles required 25 man-days and cost appro-
ximately 4p3 • 25 per square mile surveyed. Pre-survey planning and
educational programs were lacking from this survey. Factual values
of wetlands resources should be publicized along with proposals for
acquisition and management before inventory is undertaken. Govern-
ment agencies other than those concerned with wildlife management
hold shares in wetlands resources. Certain of these other agencies
may be currently fitted to inventory and acquire wetlands in southern
Ontario more economically than the Ontario Department of Lands and
Forests. Wetlands acquisition is an economical method of preserving
valuable natural areas and wildlife habitat. Wildlife habitat and
recreation areas have not been produced more cheaply in southern
Ontario than they might be by wetland acquisition. Minnesota pur-
chased nearly 25,000 wetland acres for about : i?29«50 per acre.
This means of habitat restoration warrants consideration.
The advice and criticisms of Dr. A. de Vos, Associate
Professor, Ontario Agricultural College and Mr. A. T. Cringan, Ontario
Department of Lands and Forests guided this investigation to com-
pletion. Working facilities were supplied by the Department of
Entomology and Zoology of the Ontario Agricultural College at Guelph,
Ontario. The Ontario Department of Planning and Development co-
operated in supplying data from their River Valley Conservation
Surveys. Timber Management Division of the Ontario Department of
Lands and Forests supplied all aerial photographs.
THE 1956 EXPERIMENTAL SURVEY
Experimental wetlands surveys were conducted on about
175,000 acres in Southern Ontario during the period May to August,
195o. Fieldwork covered the whole of Puslinch, Guelph and Eramosa
Townships and a portion of Erin Township, in Wellington County, as
well as 20,000 acres in Mulmur Township, Dufferin County. Four
experimental techniques for appraising wetlands resources in Southern
Ontario were organized.
Detailed descriptions of the 4 techniques are given in
Appendix I. The techniques are numbered in the order in which they
* the area bounded by 2 concession roads and 2 cross roads or their
Technique 1 — Non dispensable photographs: topographic map; field forms
The initial method (Technique 1) was based on the plant
associations of an hydrosere. Efficiency of this method was low for
1) Unnecessary time was used in sorting photos to obtain
coverage of the desired concession-block.
2) Photos were borrowed and had to remain in the vehicle.
Consequently the fieldman had no quide, other than his memory, to the
location or condition of the several wetlands he had to inspect while
away from the vehicle.
3) Wetland locations recorded on a 1 inch: 1 mile topographic
map were unsatisfactory because of small sizes or high densities of
wetlands. No other method of recording locations was possible with this
4) When fieldwork was completed all photographs and all
field sheets had to be consulted to obtain the coverage for each con-
cession-block which contained wetlands. The wetland then had to be
planimetered and the area datum recorded with the other data for that
wetland. Much more time was expended in this operation than would be
necessary if the photographic coverage for each concession-block was
indexed and readily accessible.
A cost breakdown of a survey by this method is given in
Table II and its accompanying text.
Technique- 2 -- Concession-block mosaic's: field forms Method
Technique 2 was organized for the following purposes.
1) Provide a guide for the fieldman.
2) Produce accurate records of wetlands locations.
3) Provide permanent records of the condition of wetlands
during the survey.
4) Speed up planimetering of wetlands 1 areas. The index
on each mosaic folder allowed easy access to the photo coverage and
wetlands data for any concession-block.
Summarizing data from this method was unwieldy. Each folder
contained data on several wetland types; all folders had to be in-
spected once for each wetland type. This was time consuming.
An advantage of this approach is that mosaics used for wet-
lands surveys may be used for other purposes, such as upland game
surveys, by other investigators.
This method may be modified by recording "Dispersion" and
"Plant Associations" (Punch Card Index Sheet) on every tenth wetland.
These data are of use only in establishing the typical vegetative
complex of each of the 10 wetlands types. Labour expenditure would
be reduced in this way.
The Mulmur Township area on which this technique was tested
had such a low wetland density that a quantitative comparison of the
efficiency of this technique with other techniques was not possible.
Table I gives a qualitative comparison.
Usefulness of this method hinges on the availability of
dispensable, recent photo coverage.
Techni que 3 -- Non-dispensable photographs: punch cards Method
Technique 3 was organized to reauce time required for
summarizing and to provide better permanent records of descriptive
Efficiency of a survey by this method (using borrowed photos)
was limited by the disadvantages given under Technique 1 which also
employs non-dispensable photo coverage .
Technique 3 has some advantages over Technique 1. Recording
and summarizing data was aided by the use of punch cards. Additional
analyses of the data recorded on these cards can be undertaken later;
blank punch holes are reserved for this purpose.
Technique 4 -- Concession-block mosaics: punch cards Metho d
Technique 4 employed the most efficient means of guiding
fieldmen and recording wetlands locations combined with the most
useful means of recording descriptive data. Permanent records were
produced which can be easily stored and analysed.
This method was not field tested because no dispensable photo
coverage was available at this time. The comparative values shown in
Table I are valid without field trial because both concession-block
mosaics and punch cards have been tested as components of other
A check on the accuracy of fieldwork carried out during the
1956 field season was not possible. Error was unavoidable, however,
because of growth changes in aquatic vegetation. Some potholes in-
spected in May had no vegetation; late in July or early in August
some of these same units would have been well vegetated and would have
been classed as deep marshes. Phenological errors cannot be avoided
when long field seasons must be used. More complete knowledge of the
ecology of individual wetlands of each of the various types will allow
correction for these errors.
QUALITATIVE COMPARISON OF EFFICIENCY OF FOUR WETLAND APPRAISAL TECHNIQUES
Rated in Labour Expenditure for:
^ Preparation Fieldwork Summarizing ^Usefulness
photos: topo map:
photos: topo map:
mosaics: punch cards)
* In addition to labour expended, value and multiple usefulness of the
permanent records obtained (as discussed under Technique 4) are
Labour and Costs Involved in Wetlands Appraisal
Table II compares the labour expended in surveying 3 townships
with the wetlands densities in these areas. With a density of one
wetland on each #7 acres of map area a large number of wetlands and a
small map area can be surveyed per day. In an area with one wetland
on each 270 acres more time is spent travelling between wetlands. Con-
sequently a smaller number of wetlands and a larger map area can be
surveyed per day. Table II refers to a survey by Technique I.
LABOUR EXPENDED IN WETLANDS SURVEY OF KNOWN SAMPLE AREAS
(Total sample area 144,313 acres)
Number of wetlands
Total land acreage
Survey Costs for Known and Unknown Sample Areas
Puslinch Township, Wellington County, Ontario has a map area
of 59,904 acres with a wetland density of 1 wetland per 87 acres.
Twenty-three man-days of fieldwork and 2 man-days of office time were
required to completely survey this township (using Technique 1).
This survey cost approximately ^309.50 or ^3*25 per square
mile of map area surveyed. (Estimate includes salary, transportation
and office materials. Photographic coverage was supplied at no cost
by the Timber Management Division of the Ontario Department of Lands and
Estimates of labour required to survey unknown areas may be
derived from Table II. By extrapolation an hypothetical township of
50,000 acres map area with a wetland density of 1 wetland per 1#3 acres
might require from 11 to 14 man-days of fieldwork plus 2 man-days office
time. This estimate assumes a one-man crew. Labour may be reduced by
the use of a 2 man crew, as discussed later in this report.
Approximate costs of survey may be determined
in advance , from
i • Education and Publicity
Pre-survey educational programs are essential. Publicity
should be applied at all levels if wetlands conservation is to be
Publicity at the administrative level, both inter- and intra-
departmental is vital to the enlistment of biologists, soil scientists,
agriculturalists and others in a combined effort.
When the public -- wetland owners and urbanites -- know the
meaning of "wetlands" and "wetlands survey", a sense of values of wet-
lands may be formed.
Fieldmen should execute a follow-up to preliminary publicity.
The fieldmen' s understanding of wetlands, their values and their possible
place in the future, must be adequate to answer the landowners' ques-
tions satisfactorily. This situation is possible only if administra-
tive chiefs have given their fieldmen a full understanding of the
Unless pre-planned programs of acquisition and management have
been formed publicity is not desirable.
Wetlands educational programs should be based on facts.
Special air surveys to determine the amount game species use wetlands
have been used elsewhere in this fact finding. The percentage of a
total number of observations on a game species that were made in
wetland areas may also be convincing.
Wetlands survey fieldwork could be accomplished in several
ways. Surveys could be executed by: special inventory biologists,
existing district staff, special summer student crews or existing
staff of Departments other than Lands and Forests.
Inventory biologists are not yet available in the Ontario
Department of Lands and Forests.
Existing district staff, whether biologists or conservation
officers, in the present organization, would be able to inspect wet-
lands only on a part-time basis. Some data would possibly be outdated
before the completion of such a survey.
Special crews of summer students (Forestry, Biology or
Agriculture) could conduct the fieldwork adequately. However, addi-
tional supervisory staff would have to be provided.
Existing field staff of other departments potentially could
inspect many wetlands in southern Ontario. As an example, field crews
of the Ontario Department of Planning and Development recently covered
much of the area included in this year's wetland survey. These crews
will continue River Valley Conservation Surveys in areas that should
be surveyed for wetlands. Such field crews could do wetlands field-
work if supplied with materials and instructions. Survey costs
would be significantly reduced if fieldwork could be accomplished in
The monotony of wetlands fieldwork reduces efficiency and
accuracy if a one-man crew is employed steadily at this work. This
situation could be partially corrected if one-man crews carried on
other work, such as mammal or plant collecting, along with wetlands
inspection. The modification of Technique 2 mentioned above would
likewise relieve monotony for a single worker. A two-man crew,
working from one vehicle but separately in the field would be more
satisfactory than a lone worker.
Acquisition and Management
In other wetlands resources programs inventory has been
followed by acquisition. Acquisition (or some other phase of manage-
ment) should follow inventory closely--if inventory data are to be
useful for acquisition purposes. Acquisition even without immediate
management would at least assure the continued existence of the
purchased units. River Valley Authorities could potentially incor-
porate the fieldwork and administration of wetlands acquisition in
their current land acquisition programs.
What agency will manage the acquired wetlands? This is one
question that should be answered before inventory plans will be
APPENDIX I I - 1
G ENERAL INSTRUCT IONS
(Apply to all techniques)
1) Include all areas over 1/4 acre in size.
2) Include open water areas up to 10 acres in size (July conditions).
(Open water areas over 10 acres should be covered by a separate
lake survey. )
3 ) Include river and stream bottomlands and their shoreline vegeta-
4) Include artificial impoundments or dugouts only if over 1/2 acre
in size and only if wildlife habitat on the area has been improved.
DESCRIPTIONS OF FOUR WETLANDS SURVEY FIELD METHODS
Technique 1 -- Non-dispensable photographs: topographic map: field forms
P re- survey Preparation
Number all concession-blocks directly on the topographic
sheet, starting with No. 1 in each township and numbering consecutively
until the township is completed.
Draw and number all photographic flight lines directly on the
topographic sheet. This may be done by locating the first and last
photos of each line, on the map, and joining these locations.
Prepare enough field forms for the area to be surveyed. (See
Photos are referred to before entering the area, but are left
in the vehicle; only the topographic map and field sheets are taken
directly into the field. Data are recorded according to the attached
"Instructions for Completing Wetlands Field Form",
Summarize to obtain the following data for each type of
wetland: 1) total number of wetlands, 2) total acreage, 3 J area class
distribution in four acreage classes (0 to 0.99, 1.00 to 4«99> 5»00 to
9.99 and 10.00 plus), 4) total number and total acreage of drainable
wetlands of each type and the percentage these form of all wetlands
of this type, 5) same as 4) for conditions of grazing.
From these summaries, by type of wetland, the data shown
on the attached sample table for Puslinch Township are derived.
ability ! or not
D or U [G or U
Predominant Vegetation ;P,F,G,VG
i i . .
INSTRUCTIONS FOR COMPLETING WETLANDS FIELD FORM
Type ; Record data for only one type or one subtype of wetland on
each field sheet. ( See Wetland Classification Guide for a
description of each wetland type.)
If an individual wetland is composed of two or more types
or subtypes, over 1/4 acre in size, enter each subdivision on
the appropriate field sheet. (See also Location . )
D ate : Record month, date and year as April 12/56. Do not use
Location : Record as Block No. — Wetland No. e.g. 2 - 9
Concession — Lot (s) V - S£5, N£6
Number each concession block (area outlined by roads) con-
secutively for the county or township.
Number the individual areas, starting with No. 1 in each
concession block and numbering consecutively until each con-
cession block is completed. Number the individual areas on
the topographic map as on the field sheets.
If an individual wetland is composed of two or more types
or subtypes, number each subdivision separately. (See also
Type . )
P redominant Record only those species which are dominant and in some
V egetation : way characterize the individual wetland and the wetland type
in which you have classed it. List the species briefly, in
descending order of abundance. (See Symbol sheet for standard
abbreviations. ) Where possible, record plant
associations rather than single species. Record each asso-
ciation in brackets, in descending order of importance, as
(Cattail: Sweet flag; Horsetail).
S hape : Note the topographic. .outline of the area as one of
1) irregular, 2) round, 3) elongate. Record as I, R or E.
A cres : Determine the area from the air photo by planimeter or
acetate jig. Record to the nearest 1/4 acre.
D rain - This refers to ECONOMIC drainability . Record as either "D"
ability : (drainable) or "U" (undrainable) on the basis of the three
1) Can the area be economically drained by gravity? (tile or
2) Is the water supply currently used by the owner (e.g. stock
water source) and will this use prohibit drainage in the near
3) Does the wet area hinder tillage of the field?
Grazing : Record as either "G" (grazed) or "U" (ungrazed). If the
area is lightly grazed, record as ungrazed but note O.T.G.
(open to grazing) in the Remarks column.
Adjacent Record the type of cover within 100 yeard of the mapped
Cover : area as; woods, plantation, cropland, improved pasture or
unimproved pasture. Record as W, PL, C, IP, or UP.
I - 4
Record "Yes" if the area obviously can be easily impounded.
Do not record if "No".
Record the nature of any evident inflow into the area such
as: spring, seepage, temporary stream or permanent stream.
Do not record if no inflow.
W ildlife Record common names of game, tracks, droppings, cuttings
ization : or other signs of utilization seen on, over or near the
area. Note age and sex where possible.
Record obvious land use trends, intentions expressed by
landowner or other data pertinent to the wildlife values
of the wetland.
I - 5
Technique 2 -- Concession-block mosaics: field forms Method.
Pre- survey Preparation
Number concession blocks on a topographic sheet as in
Prepare one cap-size manilla file folder for each concession-
block to be surveyed. Index the folders with County, Concession, Lots,
Township and Block Number for the mosaic each will contain.
Cut mosaic sections from the original photos to form complete,
separate mosaics for each concession-block to be surveyed. Mark the
block number and a north direction arrow on the back of each mosaic
section, as cut . Paste these sections, on the left, inside the pre-
pared manTTla folders. Mark a direction arrow on each folder beside
Prepare field forms (see attached sample) and fasten one in
each manilla folder, opposite the mosaic. (An extra field form may be
attached later if required.)
The appropriate manilla folder is taken directly into the
field. Each wetland is outlined and numbered on the photo and the
description recorded opposite the corresponding wetland number on the
field sheet. Data is recorded as described in Technique 1.
Each field sheet contains data on several types of wetlands;
folders must each be inspected to summarize the data for each type of
wetland. When summary by type is accomplished, proceed toward the
final summary as outlined in Technique 1.
Technique 3 — Non-dispensable photos: topographic map: punch card
P re- survey Preparation
Office preparation for this method is identical with that
of Technique 1 except no field sheets are needed. Punch-type index
cards (4" x 6") are substituted. (See attached code sheet and sample
Fieldwork in this method is identical with Technique 1 except
recording is by marking the appropriate hole, on the card, with pencil
and writing additional information on the face of the card. Punch holes
are only marked in the field, and punched later, to preserve the card's
i : 1
1 ' '
PUNCH CARD INDEX SHEET
i - a
DISPERSION (% surface area
- 10% 1, 2
10 - 40% 2
40 - 100% 2, 3
Floating, not rooted
10 - 40%
40 - 100%
10 - 40%
40 - 100%
10 - 40%
40 - 100%
- 10% 9,10
10 - 40% 10
40 - 100% 10,11
10 - 40%
40 - 100%
Gramineae and Carex
10 - 40%
40 - 100%
10 - 40%
40 - 100%
10 - 40%
40 - 100%
Shrub Swamp A
Shrub Swamp B
- 0.99 34
1.00 - 4.99 34,35
5.00 - 9.99 35
10.00 plus 36
No but O.T.G. 41
WRITE ON CARD
Game and Sign seen
Summarizing is accomplished by needle-sorting the punch cards
and proceeding identically as in Technique 1. In addition, the modal
and mean percentages of each ecological type of vegetation may be de-
termined for each wetland type.
Technique 1+ -- Concession-block mosaics: punch card Method
Concession-block mosaics are prepared as in Technique 2 but
no field forms are needed. Punch cards (Technique 3) are substituted.
Mosaic folders are taken directly into the field along with
a supply of punch cards. Wetlands locations are recorded by outlining
and numbering directly on the mosaic.
All descriptive data are recorded on the punch cards — one
card for each wetland unit.
Summarizing is identical with Technique 3»
■> > i * 'j ^> y 3 ") 2 :>:> ■ j> ;> 3 a 3 o ? o b o 0o 3
Block - Wetland No.
Concession - Lot(s)
Game and Sign
•; "> 3 3 3 3
3 -> >.
APPENDIX II II - 1
RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TRAINING WETLANDS SURVEY FIELDMEN
Very little training should be necessary for fieldmen who
have studied elementary plant ecology. Other personnel should receive
an adequate review of the ecological stages and substages of an
hydrosere. Fieldmen should be impressed with the lack of definity
of these ecological stages as encountered in the field; heterogeneous
admixtures of several stages should be expected.
Recognition of the trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants listed
on the wetlands "Symbol Sheets" (attached) would be adequate for work
in the Guelph area.
Familiarity with collecting and keying procedures would be
Field recognition of aquatic plants throughout the entire
field season is next to impossible. Therefore the fieldmen should be
able to classify wetlands ecologically when unable to determine all
the genera of plants found on the area.
The following are useful references and field handbooks.
Fassett. Manual of Aquatic Plants . McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc., •
New York. 1940.
Meunschner. Aquatic Plants of the United States . Comstock Publishing
Company, Ithaca, New York. 1944.
Weaver and Clements. Plant Ecology . McGraw-Hill Book Co., Inc.,
New York. 1929.
II - 2
The symbols for Trees and Shrubs, Forest Cover Types and
Herbaceous Plants shown on this sheet are only partial lists. Species
encountered in other regions but not represented on these lists must
be added as encountered.
Trees and Shrubs
ALg grey alder
ASb black ash
ASw white ash
BIw white birch
BIy yellow birch
CEw white cedar
DOs dogwood shrubs
ELc corky (rock) elm
ELr red (slippery) elm
ELw white elm
Fib balsam fir
HAs hawthorn shrubs
LEI leather leaf
MAh hard maple
MAr red maple
MAs silver ma pi©
PIj jack pine
PIr red pine
Pis scotch pine
PIw white pine
POb balsam poplar
P01 large tooth aspen
POt trembling aspen
SPb black spruce
SPw white spruce
Wlb black willow
Wis willow shrubs
Acer rub rum
Populus grand id ent at a
Populus t remuloides
Spiraea alba "
Picea glauc a
Trees and Shrubs are symbolized by writing the first two
letters of the proper noun in capitals, followed by the initial letter
oi the qualifying adjective, written in the lower case. Grev alder is
represented by AL(der) g(rey). y •
II - 3
Forest Cover Types K
6 Paper birch
21 White spruce - balsam fir - paper birch
22 Balsam fir
24 White cedar
2 5 Tamarack
26 Black ash - white elm - red or silver maple
60 Silver maple - white elm
60A White elm
H (hardwood) denotes a stand composed of $0% or more
C (coniferous) denotes a stand composed of 80% or more
M (mixed) denotes a stand composed of less than
broad-leaved trees and less than $0% conifers.
x The numbers used to represent forest cover types are according
to the Society of American Foresters (1940) system. Additional cover
type symbols may be found in Forest Cover Types of the Eastern United
States - Society of American Foresters, 1940, or in the River Valley
Conservation Reports published by the Ontario Department of Planning
NOTE t These are some of the associations of tree species found
.commonly in wetlands. All associations of trees encountered will
not fit the designated types exactly. Place each woodlot in the type
it fits most closely then note any additional species as in the
A stand composed predominantly of aspen with some white cedar
is recorded as "4 with CEw". Similarly a woodlot predominantly
white cedar but with some tamarack is noted as "24 with LAt" .
Herbaceous Plant s** (Partial list)
Yellow water lily
White water lily
II - 4
**Herbaceous plants are not symbolized according to an
accepted system. These species are represented by writing the first
two letters of the generic name in capitals followed by the initial
letter of the specific name, written in the lower case. (A lower
case "s" represents several species of the genus.)
Terms used under the heading "DISPERSION" on the Punch
Card Index Sheet are based on the recognized ecological stages of an
hydrosere. "Floating, not rooted" refers to such plants as Lemna spp,
and Wolffia spp. "Submerged rooted" includes Elodea canadensis and
Chara spp. Typha spp., Sagittaria spp., Pontederia spp., and Calla
palustris are "Emergent broad-leaved". "Emergent reed-like" vegeta-
tion is exemplified by Juncus spp., Eleocharis spp., Scirpus spp.
and others. Gramineae and Carex are grouped together because they
both occur in adjacency, in some proportion, around most wetland
- 20 -
AN EVALUATION OF CANADA GOOSE KILLS
BY THE INDIANS OF NORTHERN ONTARIO
-l by ?
Harold C. Hanson x and Campbell Currie^
In 1946, the U. S. portion of the Mississippi Flyway
was closed to the hunting of Canada geese. The flyway closure
proclamation came as the ultimate climax to a series of years
of excessive kills in Illinois in the vicinity of the Horseshoe
Lake Game Preserve. In 1947, the season on Canada geese was
reopened with a bag limit of one bird per day. Further pro-
tection was given the goose flock wintering at Horseshoe Lake
by closing to hunting a large sector of private land around
this refuge. These and further restrictions, an expanded
refuge program, plus a series of favorable breeding seasons
enabled the Mississippi Valley flyway flock to regain and then
far exceed its earlier numbers. Today, the present population
considerably exceeds that of any time in recent decades.
The hunting of Canada geese in Ontario, i.e., that
part of Canada lying within the Mississippi Valley flyway, was
not curtailed as an aftermath of overshooting in the States,
probably for the very reason that the kill of Canada geese by
white hunters in southern Ontario has always been negligible.
In northern Ontario, however, in the District of Patricia, the
Cree Indians trapping within 150 miles of the coasts of James
and Hudson Bay have apparently always made a fairly sizeable
kill of Canada geese.
In 1947, an effort was made to ascertain the kill
made by the Indians that hunt and trap over the breeding grounds
of the Mississippi Valley flock, fig, 1. A majority of the
trappers were contacted by personal interview. From the data
obtained, an estimate of the kill at that time was made, table 1.
Thus when the flyway population was approximately 54,600 birds,
the spring kill by the Indians trapping the breeding grounds
was calculated to be about 4,600 geese, or about $.5 per cent
of the flight leaving the States.
Since 1947, the Flyway population has increased by
about 4»# times. The January 1954 inventory indicated a population
of 160,000 wintering in southern Illinois alone. Consequently
it became a matter of considerable interest to determine the
Indian kill in the fall of 1953 and the spring of 1954 in the
light of the increased population of geese. Had the Indian kill
increased in proportion to the increase in the numbers of geese
reaching the breeding grounds - or, its corollary, were the
Indians benefiting by the increased supply of geese? Opportunity
•^Illinois Natural History Survey, Urbana,
Ontario Department of Lands and Forests, Sioux Lookout.
- 21 -
to obtain data to answer these questions was offered the writers
by the Ontario Department of Lands and Forests. To the officials
of this agency, Hanson, the "outsider" of this report, is most
Itinerary, June 1954 Trip
The following posts in northern Ontario were visited
jointly by the writers:
Round Lake June 12
Bearskin Lake June 12-15
Big Trout Lake June 15
Kasabonica June 16
Sachigo Lake June 17
Ft. Severn June 13-19
Weenusk June 19
Sutton Lake June 19-20
Landsdowne June 20
Ft. Hope June 20-22
In addition to these posts, data were obtained by Messrs.
Campbell Currie and Thomas Batchelor from the posts of;
Little Grand Rapids
Big Beaver House
Kill data were obtained in 1954 by means of personal
interview from about 71 per cent of the trapper population
residing in the band areas visited. In figure 2, the location
of the various band trapping areas, their size in square miles,
and the number of trappers therein are shown. The average,
extreme, and calculated kills made by the various bands of
Indians interviewed, are summarized in table 2.
A previous analysis of band recoveries from northern
Ontario, fig. I (Hanson and Smith, 111. Nat. Hist. Surv. Bull.
Vol. 25, Art. 3, 1950), indicated that 90$ of the kill by the
Indians of northern Ontario was made in the spring. The 1954
interview data essentially confirm this conclusion.
In 1947, data were obtained only from the coastal posts.
The 1954 survey was of particular value as it afforded an
opportunity to secure data from inland post areas which were not
previously sampled. The posts of Ft. Albany and Attawapiskat
were not visited in 1954; data for these posts will be forth-
coming, but estimates for these posts can be interpolated from
existing data for use here.
- 22 -
Discussion and Conclusions
The chief weakness of the 1947 estimate is that the
kill for the inland posts (400-700 annually) was essentially a
calculated guess based on band recoveries. The present data
indicate that this estimate was low, perhaps chiefly because a
concerted effort had not been made in earlier years to collect
band recovery data from the "inland Indians 1 '. The 1954 data
indicate a kill of 2-2500 geese by Indians trapping south and
west of the muskeg breeding grounds. Perhaps unusual spring
weather conditions may have resulted in a larger kill than usual.
Indians both at Landsdowne House and Ft. Hope reported to the
writers that the geese were driven back south twice by snow
storms and cold before making their final northward migration.
These reports imply that the geese made five migrational flights
over the above sectors, which, if true, provided these Indians
with at least three times the normal goose hunting opportunities,
the assumption being made that the two southward retreats, made
by storm driven geese under "forced draft", provided little
hunting. Of further interest, Indians at almost all the posts
reported seeing more geese this past spring than within recent
Perhaps the most unexpected findings were from Weenusk
and Ft. Severn. Despite the large increase in geese in 1954 over
1947, the average spring kill per Indian in 1954 was not greatly
different from the 1947 kill. (Ft. Severn 15.9 vs. 17-0;
"Weenusk 21.3 vs. 19. 0; tables 1 and 2). The 1947
kill estimates for these posts are conservative as they are based
on spring kill data only, the fall kill being considered negligible
at that time. The 1954 data indicate that the fall kill at these
two coastal posts is about 20% of the total annual kill. If the
1946 fall kills for these posts are assumed to have constituted
20 per cent of the annual kill, the total annual average kill
per Indian in 1946-47 can be computed and the average annual kill
for 1953-54 and 1946-47 seasons compared? Ft, Severn? 19.5
vs. 23. 8° Weenusk? 26,8 vs. 21.3.
Band recoveries have indicated the main east and west
range of the Mississippi Valley Flyway geese in Ontario can be
most satisfactorily described as including that sector of the
Province lying between 81° and 92° Longitude. Making allowance
for areas within this range not sampled, the total kill of
Mississippi Valley Flyway geese in Ontario is calculated to be
around 8,400 birds. Whatever deficiencies our findings may
possess, the data presented in table 2 constitute probably the
most accurate appraisal that has been made of a waterfowl kill
by the natives of a wilderness area. Considering the fact that
data on the kill by the Indians of the inland posts were not
available for the 1947 study, it would appear that despite a
great increase in the numbers of Canada geese available to them,
the Indians did not appreciably increase their kill in 1954.
What explanation can be given to the apparent stability
of the Indian kill? The only reasoning that can be given at
present is as follows? The earlier flights of geese arrive in
- 23 -
the north while the rivers and lakes are still frozen, probably
following the rivers as flight lanes to a great extent. The
Indians camped near the rivers and lakes, awaiting the breakup,
hunt the geese from blinds set out on the river ice and probably
thereby intercept the major flights. However, the geese are
available to the Indians only between the time of arrival and
the first break-up of the interior lakes. (This shift by water-
fowl from the rivers to the "interior" at the onset of the first
thaw was observed in the Perry River area of the Arctic.) Hence,
it would seem that time is the underlying element in controlling
the Indian kill; that even when the goose population is fairly
low, an Indian can obtain all the geese in a day*s hunting that
his ability and efficiency will permit. It has been difficult
to accept this theory, but it is the only explanation that can
be advanced at this time.
The numbers of square miles available to the Indian
hunter and the annual kill per band relative to the size of the
trapping area, varies considerably. Yet, when the number of
square miles per trapper and the number of square miles per goose
killed per band trapping area were computed, no consistent
relationship could be discerned between these data and the kill
per hunter or the annual kill per band area. For these reasons,
the average kill per trapper is believed to best indicate the
relative availability of geese to the hunter, and hence, to offer
a fairly adequate base for deducing the main migration paths of
Canada geese through western Ontario. Thus the data in table 2
indicate that the heaviest flights of geese (exclusive of the
actual breeding grounds) pass over the Ft. Hope, Landsdowne and
Kasabonica band areas? west of these areas the frequency of
migrating flocks gradually decreases. The Ft. Hope - Kasabonica
flight route, which extends directly northward, is probably used
by the bulk of the geese that nest in the vicinity of big bend
of the Weenusk River, one of the more important muskeg production
centers for geese.
Trapper kill data may not only indicate availability
in terms of geese passing over a region, but may also be indicative
of locally important stop-over areas where geese are more easily
shot. Thus, this factor is also believed to explain the
relatively high kill of migrant geese in two of the above band
areas. Because the kill of geese is particularly large in the
vicinity of Attawapiskat, Mameiguess, Kanuchuan, Winisk and
Shibogama Lakes, they are believed to be particularly attractive
to migrating geese. Although all of these lakes would be partly
ice covered at the time of migration, their highly dendritic
conformation and numerous islands would offer greater shelter
from the wind than the large open lakes to the west. They
possibly also open earlier than lakes which offer an uninterrupted
• ' .-
■ ■ . ■
- 24 -
TABLE I - Number of Cree Indian hunters, average bag per hunter,
and total calculated bag of Canada geese by native hunters
residing in the breeding range of the Mississippi Valley
goose population, 1946 and 1947 •
Fur Trade Post and
Fort Albany (inclu-
ding Kapiskau and
Ghost River out-
1946 1947 1946 1947
( including Lake
River outpost and
1 - The bag at Attawapiskat in 1943 was 1,720 according to Dr. John
Honigman, resident anthropologist at the post that year
2 - An estimate, based on data for later year.
- 25 -
TABLE II - Number of Indian trappers, average kill per trapper and
calculated kills by band trapping areas*
Big Trout L.
L. Grand Rapids^
Ft. Albany 2
No. In Inter- Per
Band viewed Cent
Average Kill per Trapper Kill
Fall Spring Annual
1953 1954 ( y 53- y 54)
Band areas considered to be west of the normal migration routes
of the Mississippi Valley Canada geese 5 data therefore not
included in totals.
Annual kill estimates interpolated from 1947 and 1954 data for
Ft. Severn and Weenusk.
- Totals are presumably included in Attawapiskat data.
- 26 -
FIGURE I - Location of production centers, limits of the main
range of the Mississippi Valley geese, and located
recoveries in Canada, 1941-1947, of Canada geese
banded at the Horseshoe Lake Game Refuge, Within
the main breeding range 217 band recoveries have been
made, (Not shown are one recovery from Warren, Manitoba,
and one fro m McLea n, Saskatchewan.)
r J 7
Scale of Miles
60 P 60 320 H) 240
- 2? -
FIGURE II - Map showing limits of
band trapping areas, square /
miles and number of
Indi a n tr appers per area
v s ^ ^ N Bearskin
I Sachigo\ '
44 ^ Big Trout > .
Island I 4 , 900 \^/
4,400 \ y°
Sandy Lake / \ Big Beaver- ,
/ y \ house j
» bonica * _
/ 2,300,, ' "
oj « Deer Lake
47 i *
J: - - » 8,700
s ^ -"
V I /
ho ' Pikangikum / Cat Lake /
Igo/ /^ ^ x 65 „ f Fort Hope
l3jL-—'\ \ /' ^,' /. 3 ' 9 °V
t v ^ / Osnaburgh *"*<* , '
1 6,100 J^-C \
> w J
v - -. 3,900 / Lac [
I -J ,/Seul *---
N, .'UCU1 *— 1 "v. (J
^ 3,400 /
^ Sioux |
> Auden I
\ Grassy ,
\ 2,500 v ' 1, ' iUU
/ Nakina \
\ Savant-Armstrong / 2,900 . \
5,000 72 . . j , ,,, 25 '
Patricia West Patricia Central
Band Trapping Areas - Northwestern Ontario
- 28 -
FIGURE III - Time of kill of Canada geese by Indians on the
breeding grounds, as shown by recovery records,
1941-1947* of geese banded at the Horseshoe
Lake Game Refuge.
: \ •■
■.._.:..:_.: -^ !
. '_"' ;
: : •
: ■'•:. ."-
__ ^- -;■ <■
_ '. j»a i_* - '*-■
.... ... ____<■ ■ |,- *•-__.. t ~_f j ->'- -
Apr. May June July Aug. Sept. Oct. Nov.
Month of Recovery
FIGURE IV - Spring kill of Canada geese expressed as per cent
of t he total annua l kill per band are a.
I Sandy Lake
•a i Deer Lake ^ x
G X _
y Big Trout v
\ Sachigo\ ,' / ^
100.0 I ' / \
v v I _ — ^ ' bonica ^^
/ n ;-- ' *-^ 63.2X
/ \ Beaverhouse '
I Round Lake \ 100.0 I /
i ,r' J f
? /** < j
% . V \ Lansdowne i
/ Pickle Lake \ '
0) v ..
•p tfli Pikangikum ' Cat Lake
S^/ '. ioo.o
Red Lake j
/ Fort Hope i
Lac Seul / \
\ Grassy - ^ J Savant-Armstrong / / Nakina \ v
I M l 111
C. N. R. Line
Patricia West Patricia Central
Band Trapping Areas - Northwestern Ontario
- 30 -
WATERFOWL SURVEY IN NORTHWESTERN ONTARIO, 1950.
Lester W, Gray
The primary objective of this survey by the Department of
Lands and Forests was to locate a suitable area to set up a banding
station. No attempt was made to run a complete census, or to take
representative samples, and the survey was made by one man working
alone. Two regions were picked, and the water within these areas
intensively studied to locate breeding concentrations. It was felt
that the places used by comparatively large numbers of breeding
birds would also be used by the fall flights, as good waterfowl
habitat in this part of the province is limited.
Location of Areas
The areas covered by the study were the District of
Thunder Ray, and the District of Rainy River.
Ten water areas were examined in the Thunder Bay District,
from Cranberry Bay on Lake Superior at the eastern extreme to
Whitefish Lake on the west. About 200 miles of aerial reconnais-
sance was also flown. Of all areas examined only Whitefish Lake
was found to be favourable waterfowl habitat, and this was the only
place where breeding birds were found in numbers. Most of the
lakes were barren of marsh, and rimmed by rocky or wooded shore-
line. It was thought unwise to attempt banding on Whitefish Lake
as it was a favourite shooting spot for gunners from Port Arthur
and Fort William. In fact, the only place for many miles where
duck shooting could be done.
In the District of Rainy River two areas were examined.
One consisting of part of the shoreline of Caliper Lake and its
tributary Log River, and the other a series of artificial ponds on
the private game reserve of Mr. J. A. Mathieu. The former area
lies on the Kenora - Fort Frances highway, about four miles south
of Nestor Falls. The latter, on the Rainy River, about twelve
miles west of Fort Frances.
The better areas were checked, either by shoreline
cruising in a canoe, or by walking. Reconnaissance work was done
by jeep and aircraft.
Weather and Water Conditions
The spring and early summer was cold and wet, and
rivers and lakes were badly flooded. Rainy River was well above
normal as late as the middle of July. Conditions were thus far
from ideal for breeding waterfowl.
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- 32 -
Predation by Northern Pike on diving duck broods in
Whitefish Lake is thought to be extremely high. Blacks and Mallards
appear to fare better, due to the fact that they remain in the
thick, weedy cover along the shore and seldom venture out on the
open water where the other species were commonly found. They were
thus relatively inaccessible to the predatory fish.
The Caliper Lake area was cruised only once, so little
information was obtained regarding brood survival.
On the J. A. Mathieu section, brood survival appeared to
be excellent. No large fish were present in these waters.
vSpecies Composition of the Breeding Population
B. W. Teal
Total Population Percent
B. ¥. Teal
B. W. Teal
k Most of the birds tallied on this area were
females with broods.
Ban ding Operations
Traps were operated on the Mathieu Reserve from August 22
until October 7. The following birds were banded? Mallard - 193 >
Blacks - 14, 3. W. Teal - 4, G. W. Teal - 9, Pintail - 1, Baldpate - 1
Fied-billed Grebe - 1.
Some birds were lost due to predation by Horned Owls,
Three of these were caught. There was also some evidence to point to
the Marsh Hawk as a predator on ducks in this area.
- 33 -
Although this part of the province is not considered a
good duck producer at best, it is felt that this year was below
average. It is also felt that the extremely wet weather and large
amount of water available had an adverse effect on trapping, by
allowing the birds to scatter over a wider area. Thus the density
of birds in the trapping area was less than normal.
- 34 -
WATERFOWL SHOOTING AROUND A SMALL SANCTUARY
D. N. Neill
Lot 10, Concession I, Yarmouth Township, Elgin County-
known as the Jones Sanctuary at Dexter.
This sanctuary comprises a "long" hundred acre farm
extending from the north shore of Lake Erie north to the first
concession road. A small pond, surrounded by trees and shrubs is
situated at the north end of the farm, adjacent to the farm buildings
Waterfowl are fed in a near-by field. At the peak of migration
approximately 2,000 geese and several hundred ducks find refuge
on the farm. A banding program was carried on for a number of years.
Twenty to twenty-five geese and several species of ducks raise
broods each summer. The Department of Lands and Forests reimburses
the farmer for some of the cost of the supplied food - corn-on-the-
No shooting is permitted within one-half mile of the
Flight Pattern of the Birds
Almost without exception flight to and from the feeding
ground is over the centre of the protected area, directly to the
lake. Occasionally, the birds are startled over the water and
return to land in disorder, outside the sanctuary area. This puts
them within range of the hunters, who are usually concentrated at
the top of the steep bank of the lake at the edge of the refuge,
during early morning or late evening.
Were it not for poor marksmanship, the bag would be much
greater. The element of surprise and confusion apparently affects
both birds and hunters alike.
The following statistics are the results of the shooting
during the 1955 open season:
Statistics based on checking hunters at the Jones
Sanctuary for 30 days during the open season 1955 •
1st check Oct. 3, last Dec. 14th
Possible hunting days - Oct. 1 to Dec. 15 ••<» 65
Number of days hunters were checked
(46% of possible hunting days) „... 30
Total Number of hunters (in 30 days) 515
- 35 -
o o e o . e e
Average number of hunters per day (for 30 days)
Total hours hunted (30 days)
Average hours hunted per day
Number of Geese shot • e ,
Number of Ducks shot, Mallard
Number of Ducks shot, Black
Total Birds (Approx. 2 birds/day
Hunting time per hunter (30 days
Birds/hunter (30 days) o . • «.
Birds per hunter hour (30 days)
No. of days with no birds shot ,
Maximum bag - Nov. 9-24 hunters in 6 man hours
O • • • o
o o o «
o e . o o o •
o o e •
o • o • •
Birds/hour . ,
o o o •
• • O
o • o a
o • o •
- 36 -
WATERFOWL CAUGHT IN MUSKRAT TRAPS,
KEMPTVILLE DISTRICT, 1955 - 1956
G. C. Myers and J. B. Dawson
Trapper questionnaires for 1955 and 1956 were analysed
and the following data summarized by Conservation Officer Patrol
Areas and totalled for the District,
1. Total number of trappers (including residents and farmers)
2. Number of questionnaires completed.
3. Percent of completed questionnaires returned,
4. Total number of ducks caught.
5. Number of muskrats caught (from completed returns).
6. Muskrats per duck caught.
7. Number of ducks caught, by species.
Since it is thought that many birds die after release
from traps, data concerning birds killed and those released were
not used in this report.
19 5 5
Patrol No. of
Indicates low return from French-speaking areas.
- 37 -
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- 39 -
Trappers returning completed questionnaires caught a
total of 1,073 ducks in 1955 and 699 in 1956.
If those returning questionnaires constitute a good
sample of all district trappers , then the above totals can be
corrected, for all trappers, to read 1,536 and 970 for 1955 and
The sizeable difference in total ducks caught and in
muskrats per duck caught between the two years is thought to be
caused by the very poor trapping conditions prevailing in 1956.
Except for the above differences, data for the two years
show a striking similarity.
The above tables indicate that;
- Questionnaires were completed by 70% of all trappers in 1955
and by 72% in 1956.
- Muskrats caught by trappers returning completed questionnaires
represented 73% of all muskrats caught in 1955 and 71% in 1956.
- Black Ducks and Wood Ducks constituted over 70% of all ducks
caught each year.
- The percentage of each species caught varied very little from
year to year.
- The percentage of ducks caught in each patrol area also varied
very little from year to year.
The attached map shows the percentage distribution of
ducks caught in the various patrol areas. It can be seen that
the greatest number of ducks are caught in the western part of the
district. Ducks caught in patrol areas 6-9 constituted 84% of
all ducks caught in 1955 and 82% in 1956. This percentage distri-
bution agrees very closely with the percentage of muskrats taken
in each patrol area and is directly correlated with the amount of
aquatic habitat available.
Trappers in patrol areas 2 and 3 are predominately
French-speaking and the return of completed trapper questionnaires
was very poor from these areas.
To improve this situation, questionnaires in French
may be distributed to these trappers in the future.
- 40 -
Waterfowl Caught, in Muskrat Traps, 1955 and 195&.
Patrol Area Number
fo of ducks - 1955.
% all ducks - 1956
;iap shews percent of total ducks caught by patrol areas,
1955 and 1956.
- 41 -
LUTHER MARSH GAME BAG CENSUS REPORT
OCTOBER 6TH., 1956,
J. F. Gage
Luther Marsh is situated on the county line between the
Counties of Wellington and Dufferin in West and East Luther
Townships. The area was purchased by the Grand River Commission.
The swamp was created when a flood control dam was constructed
providing some three thousand (3,000) acres of inundated swamp
land. Its main purpose is to control floods* The use of this
area by ducks has probably given the project more publicity than
has flood control. Each year, particularly on opening day,
hundreds of hunters flock to the Luther Marsh, as it is popularly
known, to participate in the duck hunt.
This year seven entry points to the marsh were estab-
lished as checking points. Department of Lands and Forests
personnel with eight Ontario Agricultural College students were
present to check the duck harvest and to maintain duck hunting
Special effort was made to contact each hunter before
he entered the marsh, informing him of the legal opening and
closing time. The time taken was very worthwhile since there
were only five infractions of shooting before 12^00 o* clock noon.
Five hunters were charged with violations of the hunting regula-
tions after the evening shoot.
A total of 5^9 hunters was checked with 613 ducks.
Black Ducks were plentiful and accounted for 26.5$ of the total.
Mallards were a very close second with 25.2$. These two species
make up about half of the total. Green-winged Teal 16.3$ and
Blue-winged Teal at 10.4$ make a strong percentage for the Teal
family. It can be readily seen that the Blacks, Mallards and
Teal provide the bulk of the duck harvest on opening day at the
Luther Marsh. Their numbers account for more than 75$ of the
total ducks shot.
Other species provide a mixed bag of lesser importance
but of great interest to many hunters. In order of occurrence
in the bag they weres Pintails, Ruddy Ducks, Bluebills, Bald-
pates, Ring-necked Ducks, Redheads, Wood Ducks, Gadwalls and
Hooded Mergansers. One Canvas-back was checked and 35 Coots or
Mud Hens. A great many of the latter are shot in mistake for
ducks. They are legal game and are said to be good eating when
Some species will make a greater contribution to the
harvest as the weather becomes colder and migrant ducks work
- 42 -
Luther Marsh Game Bag Census Report, Oct. 6th., 1956.
Hunters Checked 539
Ducks Checked 613
Ducks Per Hunter 1.04
Ducks Lost 132
Ducks Found 3
Parties Using Dogs 17
Parties Not Using Dogs 193
- 43 -
MOURNING DOVE ROAD COUNTS
L. J. Stock
The following is a summary of the Mourning Dove
Road Counts carried out during the month of September 1956, in the
Lake Erie District, by members of the field staff and District Office
3 or More
We 11 and
Kent (Dover Twp)
Percent of birds in flocks - 79
Largest Flock Norfolk County - Townsend Township - 1,000.
Highest Count per mile - Essex - 3«69.
- 44 -
REPORT ON 1956 TRIP TO THE SLATE ISLANDS
H. Go Gumming
Purpose ; To carry out the annual check on the caribou population
of the Slate Islands.
Members of Party , J. B. McKenzie, Conservation Officer,
Ho Go Cumming, Biologist,
July 9 Travelled from Geraldton to the Slate Islands via Pays
Plat. Set up camp opposite McCall Island near a known
July 10 Walked to Silver Lake and past two beaver ponds to
Horace Cove, thence to Lawrence Bay and camp.
July 11 Morning lost due to accident. Spent afternoon trying
to observe caribou from canoe.
July 12 Followed old trail to Sunday Harbour. Returned by boat.
July 13 Unable to work due to rain. Attempted to see caribou
along the shore from canoe.
July 14 Walked to Mud Lake, thence to northeast corner of
Patterson Island, back to old lumber camp on McGreevy
Harbour, to Mud Lake again and returned to camp.
July 15 Collected plants by old lumber camp. Walked to Silver
Lake and back.
July 16 Returned to Pays Plat.
Observations of Caribou ;
Caribou seen or heard
July 9th, 1956 . A caribou was heard, then sighted on McCall
Island across from camp. It walked along the shore, stopped
several times to put its nose in the water. It turned and licked
itself, straightened, then licked again Antlers were about 4
inches long and in the velvet. It walked on a short distance,
then broke into a trot through the shallow water along the shore.
It was very dark, greyish rather than brownish. There was a faint
16, 55s The caribou disappeared around a small point of the shore,
but reappeared 30 seconds later. It walked on for a short distance,
stopped to look across the water, walked on and paused apparently
- 45 -
to browse some low growing plants among the bushes along the shore.
After browsing for perhaps 30 seconds, it walked on (east) and,
with one more pause to look across the lake, disappeared around the
point at 17.02 hours.
J uly 10th, l6.30 o A caribou was sighted at the end of Lawrence Bay.
When followed it would run only a short distance and then stop.
It was sighted three different times before it disappeared altogether,
After that, although we hurried forward, we could see no further
sign of it. No antlers were visible.
July 11th, 14.45 s A caribou swam up to shore by the camp while the
aircraft was there and four people were sitting around talking.
It swam with head high and rump out of the water. When it reached
shore, about 30 feet from camp, it stood there for a short while
shaking itself intermittently, but it left before a picture could
be taken. It was brown with a very dark head. No antlers were
July 12th, 13.00 ; A caribou was heard near a small lake east of
Sunday Harbour. It was seen by McKenzie who surprised it near the
lake. He watched for a moment until it walked into the bush, at
which time he went down the trail past it, and attempted to drive
it back. He saw it once more. It was fairly light in colour. No
antlers were seen.
13 o 15s While we were eating lunch, a caribou came up the trail and
went off into the bush just before reaching our position. This was
probably the same caribou as the one just described.
13. 3$; While proceeding toward Sunday Harbour, a caribou was
sighted in the bush. It was dark brown with about 6 inch antlers.
When we crouched down and made chirping noises, it turned and came
back toward us in an attempt to discover the source of the noise.
13«45* A caribou was seen at some distance through the trees. It
just stood facing away from us for a moment, then wandered off paying
no attention to our chirping. It was a lighter brown in colour and
had antlers with forked knobs about IS inches long. This was only a
short distance from Sunday Harbour.
July 14th, 12.15 ; A caribou was sighted near Mud Lake. It came back
three times when chirped at, enabling the taking of two pictures.
It then circled and disappeared. McKenzie, who was some distance
off, also glimpsed a caribou through the trees. It was believed to
be the same one.
July 15th, 13.15 : A caribou was sighted swimming toward the shore
near camp from the direction of McCall Island. It landed on the
shore about 50 feet east of the camp and walked straight into the
woods. It was dark brown and no antlers were noticed.
16.10; A caribou was heard near the trail to Silver Lake. It was
- 46 -
16.45: A caribou was heard near Silver Lake. It sounded as if it
were knocking its antlers on trees. It was glimpsed a couple of
times by McKenzie but no details could be discerned.
July 10th, 09 » 30 S Fresh caribou tracks and droppings were seen at the
west end of McGreevy Harbour. The animal had been heading northeast
around the end of the bay.
16. 3#s Caribou calf tracks were found in the sand on the east shore
of Lawrence Bay. They were about lj inches long.
July 12th, 14.00 s Caribou calf tracks were seen near Sunday Harbour.
Many more adult caribou tracks were seen but not recorded.
July 12th, 16.00 ; A bleached jaw from a caribou that was reported
to have fallen off a cliff in the winter or spring of 1955, and the
carcass of a caribou which apparently fell off the same cliff a few
feet distant in the winter or spring of 1956 were found on the south
shore of Sunday Harbour. The cliff was a bald, rounded height,
directly across the point from the lighthouse. The carcass of the
second animal lay where it had landed with a rib still bent over the
rock on which it had broken. The animal was about 25 or 30 feet from
the base of the cliff. Although there was an over-hang of several
feet the distance of the carcass from the base of the cliff seemed
hard to explain. It appeared that it might have been running or had
jumped, for the carcass was facing directly away from the cliff and
had landed feet down.
It was almost entirely decomposed, with only pieces of hide still
hanging on the bones. It was related by the lighthouse keeper that
the complete skeleton of the other animal had been there the previous
year and that a piece of moss had been torn off the rock above where
it had fallen over. The jaws of both animals were collected.
17.00; Guided by the lighthouse keeper, we located another caribou
carcass on the north shore of Sunday Harbour on a gravel beach. He
reported that it was well up near the bush line when he had first
seen it, but that the waves had moved it to its present position
about two-thirds of the way toward the water. It was slightly
more decomposed than the other carcass but was also a casualty of last
winter. The jaw was collected and a casual examination showed that
it was a calf. This looked very much like starvation as it was found
on a south facing slope at the tree line where a starving animal
would come for a little additional warmth.
A left antler and a right antler from different animals were picked
up by the lighthouse people and given to us. Another right antler
was found on July 15th on the trail back from Silver Lake. These
were all brought back to Geraldton.
- 47 -
Additional Information on Caribou s
Anglers encountered during the trip were questioned concerning the
numbers of caribou which they had seen. Some who had been coming
to the islands for some years claimed that they were seeing
considerably fewer caribou this year. Several other fishermen
stated that they had been over to the islands fishing several times
this year but had seen no caribou* These reports contrasted with the
three observations which we made on the shore.
Some anglers reported that they saw two caribou on the shore of
McCall Island on July 14th while we were away from camp. These two
were the first they had seen this year.
Two watchmen for a log boom which was being held in McGreevy Harbour
reported that they had seen only about one-half dozen caribou since
they had taken up residence there in May.
The lighthouse keeper reported that one of the children had seen five
caribou, including one calf, near the small lake just east of Sunday
Harbour, a few days before our arrival. He said that each fall a
large caribou came down and ate the flowers out of their garden
and was quite tamo. He also reported that he had found the fore*
foot of a young one about the same size as that of the second carcass
which we found, near the base of the lighthouse cliff. His helper
also found a whole carcass on the east side of the lighthouse that
he did not think had fallen off any cliff. He promised to try to
collect the jaw and send it to us.
Observations of Other Animals s
July 10th, 11.18 s A mountain ash was found cut by beaver on a hill
11.30s A double beaver dam (one just below the other) was located
at the southwest end of a small pond in the Mud Lake chain. The
dams, which had apparently been built last fall, were holding water
and there were fresh cuttings on them. Some of the surrounding
trees had been killed by the flooding.
A short distance from the above pond was a second pond, which also
had signs of beaver around it. No very fresh cuttings were found.
Most of the signs were from late fall or early spring.
July 14th, 12 o 10 s A beaver dam was found at the southwest end of
what was believed to be Mud Lake. No mud was visible in the lake
due to the flooding by the beaver.
July 10th. 15.15 s A fox burrow was found near a small lake in the
southwestern part of Patterson Island. Two more burrows were found
- 43 -
immediately afterward, one of which was probably leading to the same
den, and the other about 50 yards away. Since there were no fresh
tracks after the recent rain, it was impossible to tell whether or
not they were still occupied, or how old they were,
Snowshoe Hare s
July 10th, 10.30 s Snowshoe hare browse on birch was found near
July 12th, 09.30 s Snowshoe hare was seen by an old lumber camp on
July 15th, 14.00 s Snowshoe hare was startled from brush surrounding
the old lumber camp on McGreevy Harbour.
16. 00s Young snowshoe hare was captured on the trail to Silver Lake.
It was held for pictures then released. It was just nicely able to
hop around on its own.
July 11th, 16.00 s Merganser with 7 downy young was seen in Lawrence
July 13th, 18.45 ? A small merganser was found by itself in Lawrence
Bay. An attempt was made to catch it with the canoe, but was
thwarted by a gull which swooped down and, after one miss, caught
the small duck by the back of the neck and flew off with it. The
gull landed on a small island and swallowed the duck whole.
Many adult mergansers were seen.
Other Birds s
July 14th, 12.15 s Two brown creepers landed on a tree near Mud Lake.
July 15th, 16. 15 s A young white-throated sparrow was seen on the
trail to Silver Lake. It could fly short distances, but its tail
was still short. There were many white-throated sparrows in evidence
on the Slate Islands.
Mammals Missing s
The following is a list of the mammals which are present on the
mainland, but for which no evidence has been found on the Slate
Islandss moose, deer, bear, wolf, lynx, fisher, marten, otter, mink,
weasel, skunk, porcupine, squirrel, chipmunk, muskrat, mice and
shrews. It is hoped that this list can be reduced as more evidence
becomes available. Ten traps were set out one night and twenty were
set out another night around McGreevy Harbour, all in what appeared
to be excellent small mammal habitat, with no catch of any kind.
However, there are some small mammals present on the island for the
lighthouse keeper reported that some were around the lighthouse
- 49 -
Conclusions and Recommendation s;
lo There was no marked change in the caribou populations from that
of the past two years. Of the eleven observations of caribou
made, not more than three could have been repeat observations,
2. There is still caribou reproduction on the islands. Tracks of
two calves were seen*
3. At least four caribou died last winter. One death was caused
by the animal falling off a cliff | one could very well be due
to starvation, and the cause of the other two deaths is unknown.
This is the second year that an adult caribou has been known
to fall off a cliff in Sunday Harbour. Since it is a high, bare
rounded rock, there is no apparent reason why the caribou should
be up there. Also, the animal that died last winter appeared to
have jumped or run off the cliff. Since there are no large
predators on the islands, no explanation could be found.
4. The ages of the jaws collected, as determined by analogy with
deer jaws, were as follows?
Jaw of 1955 kill 2 years
Carcass at foot of cliff 5 years
Carcass on gravel shore 6 months
The age of the calf indicates that it must have died in the
fall of 195 5 » probably in December.
5. Both tree and ground lichens are very hard to find on the Slate
Islands. The contrast between the plentiful supply of lichens
observed on St. Ignace and neighboring islands the following week,
and the very few seen on the Slate Islands was quite striking.
It was most evident when walking through similar timber types
on St. Ignace and on the Slates. This scarcity, together with
the possible starvation case found, leads to the belief that the
present population on the Slate Islands may still be above the
winter carrying capacity. It is probable that the continuous
utilization of the lichens by large herds has greatly reduced
the carrying capacity of the islands over what it once was.
6. Another example of a behaviour trait in caribou similar to that
found in white-tailed deer was noticed. The curiosity exhibited
by caribou when surprised in the woods and when chirped at by
a hidden observer is practically identical with that displayed
by white-tailed deer. Two caribou were attracted to within
30 or 40 feet by this method.
7* The only rodents that were found on the Slate Islands were beaver
which had established colonies in three places. Snowshoe hares
appeared to be increasing.
- 50 -
3. In the fall of 1953 a plan was put forward for moving caribou
from the Slate Islands to Michipicoten Island. This plan was
never carried out for the following reasons t
1. There were too many agencies involved. Each one waited for
somebody else to start something.
2. The plan put forward was only a general one with not enough
detailed solutions to the problems involved.
3. There was no really satisfactory method suggested for
capturing the caribou.
4o There was the problem concerning methods of holding and
5. There was a question as to whether the population of caribou
on the Slate Islands warranted such a move.
6. There was a problem as to the best time of year to carry
it out .
This year ? s investigation has led to the conclusion that
there are still too many caribou on the Slate Islands considering
the poor winter food supply available. At least four caribou died
last winter without having any noticeable effect on the population.
These facts lead to the belief that six caribou could be removed
with no harm to the herd, and quite possibly with some good.
Since caribou appear and behave so much like white-tailed
deer, it is believed that six caribou could be caught without too
much difficulty in box-type deer traps. The traps might have to be
slightly enlarged. Caribou are not particularly "wild" animals,
and could probably be held in small corrals. With these considerations
in mind, the following plan is put forward.
During the month of November when rutting is pretty well
finished and caribou have changed to a winter diet, three box traps
could be set up on the Slate Islands. A small corral could be built
to hold any catches. The traps could be baited and the animals fed
with lichens gathered earlier from good sources in other places.
Once set up, the traps could be operated by a field party of two
or three men.
If the traps worked well and six caribou were caught,
they could be placed in small carrying crates and shipped by means
of a rented fishing tug to Michipicoten Island. There they could
be met and unloaded by men from the White River District. It
might be necessary to supply them with supplementary food during
the first winter. That could be handled from White River.
- 51 -
The cost of such a project would be small and could be
split between the Geraldton and White River Districts. Geraldton
District could pay for the traps, carrying crates and field parties
on the Slate Islands. White River could pay for the boat rental
and any winter feeding necessary. If no caribou were caught, only
the cost of the traps and the field party would be lost.
Although the caribou would be easier to handle in summer,
they would also be harder to catch. Trapping them in November
would alleviate the winter food problem and perhaps prevent some
If this project were approved, the only preparation needed
would be the collection of lichens in both White River and Geraldton
Districts before the snow falls, and the construction of the traps
and crates. If six caribou were not considered to be a large enough
planting, another six could be transported next year.
If White River District is agreeable to this proposal
and if it is cleared by Head Office, there is no reason why it should
not be undertaken this November.
1. The week of July 9th to 16th was spent on the Slate Islands in
making an annual check on the caribou population.
2. A total of 12 observations of caribou was made.
3. Tracks of two calves were seen.
4. Jaws from a caribou which had died a year ago, and from two which
had died last winter, were collected. At least two more caribou
are known to have died last winter.
5. Anglers reported seeing less caribou this year. The significance
of this report is not known.
6* Beaver have definitely been re-established on Patterson Island.
Foxes are present and snowshoe hares seem to be increasing.
7» Mergansers, gulls, brown creepers and white-throated sparrows
were the only birds recorded.
8, A list of the mammals which do not appear to be present on the
Slate Islands is included.
9. A new plan for catching and transplanting some caribou from the
Slate Islands to Michipicoten Island is put forward.
... . ... _.
- 52 -
REPORT ON A WINTER MARTEN-TRAPPING PROJECT,
WHITE RIVER DISTRICT,
E. A. Pozzo
On January 28th, 1956, Joseph Beattie and Doug Morris
of the Department of Lands and Forests, Province of Nova Scotia
arrived to start a Live Trapping Project to obtain Marten and
Fisher for restocking in Nova Scotia.
January 30th, started to set live traps in the White
River portion of the Chapleau Game Preserve east of Mosher in the
area being cut by the Newaygo Company. The camps of this company
were used as headquarters.
Forty-seven traps were available for this project,
consisting of thirty-five large traps and twelve small traps.
Sizes of large traps? - 32" x 9s" x 9i"« Sizes of small trapss
- 24" x 6J" x 6J".
Due to this being a winter trapping project extreme
caution was necessary in setting and tending traps in order that
we experience no loss of animals due to exposure to the cold
weather or from being in traps for too long a period.
Setting of Traps
A layer of spruce boughs was first laid on the snow at
trap site, then trap was set and completely covered with boughs
to form a very snug cubby. This sheltered animal from cold and
snow and was believed to be a great factor in precluding loss of
animals during project.
All traps were tended the first thing in the morning.
Consisted of Dr. Ballards dog food, beaver, beef and
sardines. Beaver castor was used for scent.
Best results came from the beaver and beef baits rubbed
with beaver castor. Sardines froze and no luck was had with them,
Due to cold weather very little scent was given off by
these frozen baits. Baits which were rubbed with beaver castor
held scent for a few days. Since very little scent came from
baits marten would often by-pass traps apparently without being
All bait was tied on bottom of traps to ensure that no
Canada Jays, Squirrels or mice could take bait out of trap.
- 53 -
Foxes would come to the traps but would only look in
and then leave.
Throughout only eight Canada Jays and one Squirrel were
caught in traps.
Temperatures were a great factor. When temperature
dropped animals were not very active but when it rose animals
were very active. On February 19th., the temperature rose to 10
degrees above zero. This was the warmest night during the project
and 6 marten were trapped that night.
One Fisher was trapped. Fisher seemed to be very shy
with all the camp activities going on and they seemed to get back
further in the woods, this was not so with the Marten which did
not seem to mind all this.
Traps were strung out for a distance of 12 miles
requiring considerable effort to give them daily attention.
Animals trapped on this project were 1$ Marten and
Catch and temperature data are as follows ;-
January 30 first traps set out
January 31st setting traps
11 more traps s<
5 more traps set out
3 5 below zero
25 below zero
8 below zero
26 below zero
2 below zero
2 above zero
10 above zero
12 below zero
17 below zero
20 below zero
- 54 -
INTRODUCTION OF CARP INTO ONTARIO
The following item is taken from the "Markham Economist
and Sun", July 5> 1956, Volume 101, No. 1, which reviews a century
and is a reprint of an article appearing in the Markham Economist,
a family newspaper devoted especially to the interests of the
country, July 1, l3$0s
" PISCICULTURE Economist, July 1, lggO.
Messrs. Samuel and B* F, Reesor of Cedar Grove have an
excellent artificial fish breeding pond and have for some time
been in search of a prolific fish that would answer our mill pond
waters. Their study of natural history has been earnest and long,
and has been rewarded in their selecting the German Carp. The
next trouble was to get the fish, as there was none nearer than
the Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C. Prof. Baird, president,
could only distribute on recommendation of some member of Congress.
Through the kindly introduction of Mr. Buell, of Rochester, N.Y.
to that prince of Isaac Waltons, Seth Green, ten Carp were secured.
Mr. B. F. Reesor returned from Caledonia, N.Y. on Friday last
bringing his trophies. These are the first Carp that have ever
been brought to Ontario, Should they prove half as prolific and
as good for their country by the introduction of Carp, under the
difficulties of getting them, then four hundred such politicians
as the Dominion Member of Parliament for East York, and our
children's great grandchildren will bless the day that the Reesors
did a little carping."
- 55 -
WINTER SEARCH FOR OUANANICHE, ATHELSTANE AND
CLIFF LAKES, PORT ARTHUR DISTRICT.
R. A. Ryder
Since the 1953 planting of ouananiche in Athelstane Lake,
two summer and one fall netting surveys have failed to reveal whether
the fish have survived or not, and if so, their location in the lake.
As the netting surveys covered only that strata of water within five
feet of the bottom in various water depths, and as ouananiche are
said to be somewhat pelagic, at least at certain times of the year,
it is believed that bottom set gill nets could possibly fail to
enmesh any of these fish even though lake trout and other species
were caught in quantity.
In the fall of 1955 an excess of ouananiche breeding
stock was introduced into Cliff Lake, a deep oligotrophic lake
where small lake trout produce but poor fishing at best. It was
not intended that these fish become established as most of the
1,000 planted fish were immature males. Since the planting several
people heard rumors about salmon being caught in Cliff Lake.
Similar rumors were heard regarding Athelstane Lake and Moda Lake,
a small lake connected to Athelstane at the northeast corner by a
shallow stream about one-quarter of a mile in length. These rumors
were the deciding factors on a proposed winter survey of these two
lakes in an effort to locate the ouananiche. In both instances the
purported method of capture was employed; i.e. fishing with lines
through the ice, employing live minnows as bait.
February 27 to 29 inclusive were spent in fishing Athel-
stane and Moda Lakes. The first day was devoted to Moda, the
remaining two days to Athelstane.
The most common types of minnows sold by bait dealers in
the Lakehead were used, namely two species of dace, Margariscus
and Chrosomus . These minnows were small, ranging up to three
inches in length. Waters from four feet in depth up to fifty
feet were fished. The baited hooks were set one foot under the
ice, one foot off the bottom, and at various intervals between
surface and bottom.
No fish were caught in Moda Lake although one fish broke
a 251b. test steel leader. This was presumed to be one of the
large pike which are known to occur in this lake. It is doubtful
if ouananiche could survive in this lake in the summer as the
maximum depth is fifteen feet and the habitat appears entirely
unsuitable, being weedy with a muck bottom.
- 56 -
Athelstane Lake proper, was fished in as many variable-
type habitat situations as time allowed,, Two days' fishing produced
only pike and lake trout, all taken on lines set one foot from the
The results from the Athelstane winter fishing survey
are not conclusive, as the time spent fishing could cover only a
small portion of the expanse of the lake. It is recommended that
surface, sub-surface and oblique gill net sets be tried in spring
or early summer, in an attempt to take the pelagic ouananiche.
The fishing public should be made aware of the plantings and rumors
of salmon catches checked. As Athelstane Lake is an hour's walk
from the nearest bush road plus a second hour's walk to favorable
fishing sites, few fishermen have bothered with it since its opening
on January 1, 1956. However, with the advent of summer fishing,
it is quite likely that the lake will be subjected to heavier
angling pressure, with the corresponding increased possibility of
a ouananiche catch.
Conservation Officers E. J. Swift and Paul Odorizzi
assisted in the surveys of Athelstane and Moda Lakes.
This lake is situated three miles from a main camp road.
It is heavily fished on week-ends although catches are usually poor.
Lake trout were originally the only species sought and these generally
range between 8" and 14" » The largest trout reported from this lake
is under three pounds in weight.
On March 6, 1956 a survey similar to that in Athelstane
Lake was attempted in Cliff Lake in an effort tos (1) determine if
the salmon had survived, (2) obtain stomachs of any available
salmon for analyses of contents, (3) try to secure more information
on habits and preferred environmental conditions of the salmon.
Four holes were cut through the ice leading out from a
precipitous rock adjacent to the shoreline, to the approximate
centre of the lake. Water depths ranged from 20' to over 100'.
Lines were set one foot from bottom, and four, eight, and twelve
feet under the ice surface. A total of nine ouananiche and one
lake trout were caught in the day's fishing. Six salmon were
caught in the hole nearest to shore, one each being caught in the
other holes. Eight feet beneath the ice was judged to be the
optimum depth for fishing. Salmon were also caught at four foot
and twelve foot intervals but with less frequency than at the
eight foot depth. In all cases the fish were caught on live minnows,
but only after agitation of them by the hand. Upon being caught,
some of the fish demonstrated a tendency to head toward the surface
rather than bore down and put tension on the line. This probably
corresponds with their habit of breaking water when caught during
the open water season. One fish followed a baited hook being
drawn in to the surface where it suddenly took the bait. At the
- 57 -
eight foot interval beneath the ice surface, one small lake trout
was also caught.
Stomach samples revealed no distinguishable food beyond
the bait minnows being used in fishing. It is not likely that
these minnows are native to this lake. More than one-half of the
stomachs were empty. The remainder bore only well digested food
taken quite a while previous to the survey. The salmon which
ranged from 14" to 20", all appeared to be in good condition.
It is recommended that a further study of this lake be
completed in the summertime in an effort to make a more definite
determination of the suitability of the lake for the fish. At
this time food habits and growth will be more easily established.
Evidences of spawning should also be checked during the fall run,
and the possibility of the lake being used for reproduction
To date nine ouananiche have been caught in Cliff Lake
by anglers and an additional nine on the survey. The lake shows
some promise of at least providing put-and-take fishing. Many
anglers are enthused about the prospects of establishing the
salmon in some lake in the District. As one angler put it, "I 7 d
rather catch one good salmon than ten lake trout."
- 5* -
FISH TAGGING STUDIES IN WHITEFISH BAY
LAKE OF THE WOODS IN 1954 AND 1955
J. M. Fraser
Whitefish Bay is the eastern portion of Lake of the
Woods and although it is over 100 square miles in area it is
connected to the main body of Lake of the Woods only by several
narrow channels at its northwest extremity. This body of water
is very irregular in outline and contains hundreds of various
sized bays and islands. The larger bays and islands have
received various names.
Whitefish Bay is one of the deeper areas of Lake of
the Woods and depths to 200 feet have been found. There is,
however, an extensive area of shallow water as well. The deeper
water contains an abundant whitefish population and a moderate
lake trout population. In the shallower water pickerel, pike,
bass, muskie and black crappie are taken.
This body of water is probably the most heavily fished
of all the waters in the Kenora District. A concentration of some
forty commercial tourist camps and hundreds of private summer
camps are located in the general area. Whitefish Bay has been
closed to commercial fishing since 1936 but in 1954 a small pound
net fishery for whitefish was started.
Each fall the Kenora Hatchery fishes 3-5 pound nets in
Lobstick Bay (see map) to obtain whitefish eggs for culture at
the hatchery. Since fish were readily available from this
operation a tagging project was begun in the fall of 1954 and
continued in 1955. Whitefish, lake trout and pickerel have been
tagged and released and the following is an account of this study.
Pickerel Tagging Studies
During the period October lS-20, 1954 four hundred and
sixty pickerel were tagged and released from pound nets in
Lobstick Bay. The tag used was a monel metal strap type (National
Band and Tag Co.) bearing a serial number and ONT stamped on it.
The tag was attached to the right operculum by means of special
tagging pliers. The average total length of eighty-nine measured
pickerel was 17 inches. Scale samples were taken from these fish
but age determinations have not yet been made.
Of the 460 tagged pickerel released in October, 1954
eleven (2.4$) were recovered during the summer and fall of 1955.
Ten of these recaptures were reported by anglers and one was
caught in nets set off the Indian Reserve on Regina Bay. The
small number of returns demonstrates a dispersion of the pickerel
after tagging. Three were caught in Regina Bay several miles
from the tagging site, three were taken at the mouth of Berry Creek
- 59 -
several miles in an opposite direction and two were reported
caught at Whitefish Narrows, twelve miles west of the tagging
site. The location reported for the other three tags was "White-
fish Bay" which covers a considerable area.
.The 2.4% return of tags will require some interpretation
and speculation. There was a seven month period (October 1954 -
May 1955) after tagging during which the pickerel were not
available to angling. If the 450 pickerel remained alive and
retained their tags through this period then the 2.4% caught by
anglers would denote the exploitation this population received
in one summer by angling. However, we have reason to believe
from our studies in the Winnipeg River and from reference to
studies elsewhere (Churchill, 1955) that a high percentage of
the tags attached to the operculum are lost several months after
tagging. If this is the case in Whitefish Bay, and it probably
is, then the exploitation of pickerel by anglers is considerably
higher than our returns indicate. In the fall of 1955 a number
of pickerel were tagged with jaw tags and the expected returns in
the coming 1956 season should give a more accurate picture of the
exploitation by angling.
Whitefish Tagging Studies
Although Whitefish Bay probably contains the largest
whitefish population of any of the areas of Lake of the Woods it
has been closed to commercial fishing since 1936. A small pound
net fishery was established in 1954 to harvest some of this
whitefish population. The Kenora hatchery collects its whitefish
eggs mainly in the Lobstick Bay area.
The main purpose of this whitefish tagging study was
to determine the extent of movement of these fish. Some of the
commercial fishermen in the main part of Lake of the Woods believe
that the main lake is constantly being replenished by whitefish
from Whitefish Bay.
Over the period October lS-November 11, 1954 five
hundred whitefish were tagged and released from the hatchery nets
in Lobstick Bay (see map). The tag was a small plastic disc
containing a serial number and Ont. Dept. of Lands & Forests
stamped on it. This tag was sewn to the whitefish immediately
in front of the dorsal fin by means of 6 lb. test monafiliament
nylon line. (This method has been used extensively in other
studies on whitefish and lake trout in Ontario and has proved to
be efficient for these species).
After tagging, the fish were measured (total length)
and scale samples were removed before releasing from the net. The
size distribution of tagged whitefish is presented in Table I.
Age determinations have not as yet been made.
Of the 500 whitefish tagged and released only four have
been reported as recaptured. One of these fish was caught by a
commercial fisherman off Chisholm Island a distance of some twenty
- 60 -
miles from the tagging site. The remaining three tags were turned
in to our office by the local fish buyer who found them on white-
fish sold to him by the Whitefish Bay Reserve Indians.
These fish were undoubtedly caught in Regina or
Lobstick Bays although the Indian Band holds a licence only for
nearby Dogpaw and Caviar Lake. With the Indian Reserve bordering
on Regina Bay the setting of nets in this area is understandable
but is kept under control by the local Conservation Officer.
However, this situation does disrupt the tagging to a certain
It is interesting to note that only one of 500 tagged
whitefish was caught outside Whitefish Bay although the waters
immediately outside the bay receive a considerable amount of
Also interesting is the fact that although several
pound nets were operated in Whitefish Bay proper, and 30,000 pounds
of whitefish since caught in these nets, that none of these were
tagged fish. It is possible that the whitefish in Lobstick and
Regina Bays are more or less a discrete population.
Lake Trout Tagging Studies
In the fall of 1954 commercial fishermen were operating
two pound nets in Whitefish Bay for whitefish and they were asked
to retain their lake trout for tagging. The location of these
nets is shown on the accompanying map. On October 17, 1954 these
nets were lifted and thirty-seven lake trout ranging from five
to twenty pounds in weight were tagged and released. A strap tag
similar to that used on pickerel was attached and clinched to the
right operculum. It was not possible to collect biological data
at that time.
Of the thirty-seven lake trout tagged four (10.#$) were
reported caught during the following year. The first recapture
was made by commercial nets off Chisholm Island on January 20th
1955. The known distance travelled by this fish was about 14
miles. Two lake trout tagged near Sioux Narrows were caught by
anglers at the Three Sisters Islands, a distance of four miles.
The fourth recapture was a trout tagged in Knickerbocker Inlet
and caught by an angler at the mouth of Ghost Bay some & miles
Although the small number of fish involved in this study
limits the conclusions that may be drawn the returns indicate a
local movement of the lake trout population and also suggest the
exploitation (11$) which this population receives. Whitefish Bay
is possibly the most heavily fished water in the Kenora District
and if we can obtain reliable data on the exploitation by angling
in this bay they can be used as an index to conditions in other
waters. These tagging studies will be continued with this aim in
- 61 -
The effect of marking on walleyes. (Abstract)
17th Midwest Wildlife Conference, 1955. 3 pages.
TABLE I - Length Distribution of Whitefish Tagged and Released
from Hatchery Nets in Lobstick Bay During the Fall of
Length Class (Total Length) Number of Fish
16.0 - 16.9 2
CD J __
e xjT y—
I I - t t I I
I I lt--C\J I I I I 1 oj — to I CD CO I 1 LO (MCO -* - I t\) — I
o I t- v ™ t- in i ■ i
— to co cm 01 co in o>
tO CO — — tO fr- f- t-
— cr> to oo — oj t-
I I I I I I I I
^c--cot--t^tococMcom ic^oinc»^^oo^incoinc^c-c\Jcnino^tot-inincot--ojcMOJ o
lO CM CO — to 00^1000)0^1003 CJ-> CO in <D O - "<3- t~ C- CM ^ CT> in c\J CT>
in co co — cm co cm to •<* o> — t- oj co cot- co _ ^ oj —
CO CO OJ o
i — o i o icD^-toco i 01 ^ i (mo (D(omo o i in e- co icomojCDocomto-^co 10 —
o>*d- ^t in o (\i cm o m n o n O) i/) ai -* in co t+ to — cm ^o ^j- to
m^uj i v^'^ ■ u> \l» vu vu i/~ "J-* "^j ■ ui
COOJ OJO CO CO O CO CD lO CM -3-
— cm oj in o oj
-^ to — OJ
ct n z
u u y
> X I-
< CO Ct
I I I I I I I — I
— co co *t cr> —
1 nin 1 1 1 in oj co 1 1 oj co t- t
OJ OJ OJ OJ
CO — -»
oit-omoj — coco
ffiomo t it
oj co m <n ©in o <o
* co 01 co in in
— co 1 1 t 1 (m it-oj lot-tmoioontnw it in — coojojcoojco 1 1 — •» 1 t-
ID OJ — CD^J-CMCOmcDCOOjO — t- t- CO OJ t- cot- CO
OjOt — — CM —
1 n 010 f — inco — inq-min^cncoscji — lOiMio^iniorycosioooico-o^cooio
t-OCOCOt-OJOCOCOOt-OCOOjOCDOCO-^-COOCOOJOJOjO soot- O O T CO
ojinco — ojooincooj — in — •^■ojcooiincoOTf — co co — cot o -a- ^ ojin — — ■*
t- o eg oj — ^f ©O'jm^^t-^^oj — — co — — t- — — cd^toj
— in co co oj oj — oj co t
t-oj 1 coco — co c- O) (m ^- in ■* — co M-ojo>oj^-o>t-ojcoojo>cocoo>mm**CT>oto —
01 01 t o-ojt <^ o> — o — -t 10 cm o> ^r o -tojoiniooiooi ojcd^j — o>
o> — <t in — o> t-t-cDOit-t-ooiooj co co o> — co *t co m- t-o co
— co oj oj — —
o> *r •$ co 1 n o> co
in CD co CD — o
— oj oj oj in
o> 1 10 in co co 1 1 — 1
CD O OJ OJ t- CD
OJ ^f —
cooj 1 in cd m t — icoin loicocom i in co co ^ — o co — o^oco i co t to coco — — o o t> to
oj — — — — in oj co — intocotocooc-cooj— oj co — co oj — ojco
oj co oj — — in — —
ic*-oojo>-— oitot-c-co 1 in
co — Kt \r> — tooj — co —
— oj — co oj co
I I OO) 1 1 co 1 00
1 1 1 1
1 1 a> 1 1 1 — 1 1 1 oj 1 1 1 1
c-cMOjocoococo — ^in i^r iin iojt-ojcooicoma)comcocoo— oo^t^- i i/) t- co in o co 01 i to cv ro co
ointo— o^rt-oj — t--oj oj -^ c- orvoo^ifi'vrojt-o o co <o — o cm t> ^ co cm toin ryd
ojoj o co ^ in — a> into t-inojtoointoaoc-Ln oj in co *3- in co in oin c\i
LO—— .OJCO COCMCOCO — CO 0> 0> CM ^ OJ— to— *3- <^ CM
— CO t-
co <* o
CO «^- —
I O) 10 I t- CO •* I CO I
c-- o> a, — <t> — o o» 1 in o
Oojtooj — co — ■<* OJOJ
o co — a^ co O) co co o^
oj cm o> — in co in —
co 1 to ^j- CO — I
co in oj m -3-
— in co —
c- m 1 c- o o oj
to co to cm to in
co in in o co
cn to 01 CO
c^- in co co
en ^- to co
** co in ^
o> t- t- co
co o> — CM
CM O ^ CO
CO OJ OJ
o — o e-
- O IDO)
O — ^ *t
I I CO I I CM
ai t- OJ — CO O* O CT>
— co in cm in to t i/)(D^o-fOOOtrocfi(Dco^i/)T — oco— cji *o 01 o — coinco
O)— *t (T> — CO — Ojt- sJ-COtOCM' t *t-0J^l-tOC0 t-COO^CM— t- co co 10 t in^too
_ co — en — ^ — in ojto^rm — toojoj — — o
< 00 cr
l- UJ <
en or L-
- 1 01 t- t- CO if> ai in v cr o
n. 1 - . , ■■!, (o CM o O — O' — <* o — in — OJ CO
— — — — n cjrt — O) — 'i
(o-m-noic-ooo'uojcoo^ — vj- — incocooaicooio^
COtOCMC- inOltOCT) (TlOChfM-^OO^I c-co^oo
ID *f a) ^f t- — tOOJCM — CM — — —
C) ijl I CC
^ 5 S -'
n. 1 =
ir '■> cl
O C!) ^1
I tM to I CT> CO en O
in co to co pj to
CM OJ CO
1 CM I (T> <0 1 CO I I CM I
.r < c/5 r (/) ct w or -j. i/i u
I- I- U V- U h- h I- !J f- UJ I- U .-c U -r (- U -I.
i~ a: -
< «a: co < < -j- < co or < co to cr
(^ — h^UJI — *— I — I — LlJ^i f— lu uj <
f- uj y— h-
UJ < h- UJ 1 *—
_i >- ^
D CD = CO =
O Q <
— Z) 3
co en co